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Olympics chief to boost PPE production

22 April 2020

PAUL DEIGHTON, London 2012 chief executive, has been appointed by Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock to lead the national effort to produce essential personal protective equipment (PPE) for frontline health and social care staff.

He will coordinate the end-to-end process of design through to manufacture, including streamlining the approvals and procurement process to ensure new domestic PPE supplies are rapidly approved and get to where they are needed. The “make” programme will start to deliver PPE supplies in the next week.

He will also support the scaling up of engineering efforts for smaller companies capable of contributing to the wider supply chain.

Lord Deighton previously served as Chief Executive of the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG), the organisation responsible for planning and delivering the 2012 Summer Olympics and Paralympics. He also served as Commercial Secretary to HM Treasury from January 2013 to May 2015.

As part of the comprehensive UK-wide plan to ensure PPE gets to where it is needed most, unveiled by Matt Hancock earlier this month, Deighton will lead the “make” programme to unleash the potential of UK industry to scale up domestic PPE manufacturing.

Health and social care secretary Matt Hancock said, "Our response to this global pandemic demands a national effort. Manufacturers big and small are already responding to the challenge but we must go further and faster. I am determined to do everything I can to get more protective equipment to the NHS staff who are fighting this virus on the front line.

"Just as Lord Beaverbrook spearheaded the wartime efforts on aircraft production, the appointment of Lord Deighton will bring renewed drive and focus to coordinate this unprecedented peacetime challenge.

"Lord Deighton led the delivery of the Olympics. Now he will lead a singular and relentless focus on PPE as the country’s top manufacturing priority, with the full weight of the government behind him."

Lord Paul Deighton, advisor to the secretary of state on PPE said, "Countries around the world face unprecedented demand for personal protective equipment and this necessitates an equally unprecedented domestic manufacturing response.

"I look forward to bringing together new partners in the pursuit of this single goal: to get our dedicated frontline workers the essential equipment they need.

"This effort calls for exceptional teamwork and I am confident that we, together, will rise to this challenge."

As part of the national effort to focus the UK’s manufacturing industry on this immediate challenge, the government has issued a ‘call to arms’ for industry partners to make essential PPE that demonstrably meets our technical specifications. Companies such as Burberry, Rolls-Royce, McLaren, Ineos and Diageo have already started work to produce equipment including gowns, visors and hand hygiene products.

The government is working around the clock to give the social care sector and wider NHS the equipment and support they need to tackle this outbreak. As of 16 April 2020, we have delivered almost a billion pieces of PPE around the country.